LUO Studio Designs Bridge for Gulou Waterfront Rural Revitalization

At Livegreenblog, our fascination with infrastructure never gets old, as in many cases these works are considered minor, when on the contrary they often have a socio-cultural impact that goes far beyond any formal aspect of the actual work. . This is precisely the case of the wooden bridge designed by the Studio LUO, a young Chinese architecture firm. The team of architects, under the leadership of Luo Yujie, was commissioned to build a bridge inside Gulou waterfront, an eco-cultural tourism resort developed under the rural revitalization promoted by the government. Because with the rapid urbanization in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, many local villagers have abandoned the traditional fishing lifestyle in favor of a more urban life. The water villages where people historically lived from fishing are thus gradually disappearing.
The government initiative therefore seeks to combine rural development with the cultural context of the local villages of this region, based on the principle of preserving the unique spatial fabrics characterized by water. This is precisely why Gulou Waterfront Resort was designed to maintain the shape of the local basic water system, consisting of canals and pools, while organically integrating other themes such as nature education. , recreation as well as fishing and breeding activities.
In this unique context, bridges play an important role, facilitating the connection of the various fragmented agglomerations separated by canals and small dams. Studio LUO has thus carefully analyzed the place of intervention and its traditions in order to propose an infrastructural solution that is both functional and aesthetic, becoming a landmark in the territory. The new bridge is located at the meeting point between an area characterized by traditional shopping streets and a children’s recreation area. To accentuate this connection between spaces intended for different uses, Studio LUO designed a wooden bridge different from other bridges in the region, since the architects designed it to be covered, that is, with a roof. The objective was to underline the transition from the commercial street to the playground, making the crossing along the bridge a privileged moment for passers-by, young and old.
Building a covered corridor on bridges is indeed a old tradition, with the aim of reinforcing the structure of the bridge and providing shelter from rain and humidity while keeping the wood dry and preventing its deterioration. The project thus inherits the traditional constructive wisdom of the covered bridge, bringing back to Gulou Waterfront the memory of the past, revisited in a contemporary key. A combination that also manifests itself in the industrial materials and in the construction of the bridge itself by local craftsmen.
The new bridge created by Studio LUO is therefore more than a simple infrastructure, it becomes the symbol of the desire to revive a rural town, in close harmony between history and future.

Christiane Burklein

Project: Studio LUO
Location: Jiangmen, China
Year: 2021
Images: Jin Weiqi

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